Life gets really busy. We hear things about how meditation, exercise, or mindfulness can improve our lives, but sometimes it’s tough to get started. In the past decade, there has been much more research on how mindfulness is used to treat anxiety, depression, PTSD, chronic pain, and more. The act of mindfulness is being in the present moment, accepting your thoughts and feelings without judgment. You may engage your senses, learn to pay more attention to your body, your breath, and your environment. When engaging in mindfulness, we are able to release from worries about the past or future, many of which we have no control over. Instead, it is possible to engage in a state of peace or even relaxation in the middle of the stress life brings us.
Just like anything else you are working on, mindfulness takes practice. Here are 8 ways you can try to incorporate some mindfulness into your daily life:
Give yourself a soothing self-hug! We often think of going to others for comfort, but we also need to be able to comfort ourselves. I know this sounds strange, but wrap each of your hands around your chest and squeeze. It feels really good to give yourself this support and you are engaging your senses in the process!
Get outside! Pay attention to five new things outside that you have not noticed before. I did this today. I noticed I am fond of the red colored leaves changing on the trees and they are not just red or orange. There were several shades of red, which was beautiful and also amazing that I never stopped to notice this before!
Connect with someone! Make one meaningful connection today. If you read my previous posts, I would prefer it to be in person or over the phone, not text or email. I just spoke with someone in the elevator and turns out we had something in common. Human contact is fading away and is way undervalued!
Do the opposite! We all hate sitting at red lights. Even my two year old yells “GO!” when we are stopped. What if instead of feeling frustrated (accept the frustration, but don’t judge it) and instead use this as a time for yourself to appreciate something in your environment.
Recognize your accomplishments, even the small ones! As you sit down to dinner tonight, name something you felt good about today. It can be whatever comes to mind. Try not to judge what comes up for you. For me, I just scheduled a new client. I love speaking with people over the phone for the first time and being able to offer support. It takes a lot to make that first phone call!
Change your lens! Take a look at something today and imagine how a two year old child would look at it. Today I looked at the stairs and imagined how my son feels starting to walk up the stairs without my help. What an accomplishment for him! He is so proud of himself and experiences so much joy from traveling up the stairs, which many of us avoid! Imagine if all of the mundanity of life was so pleasant!
Act kind! Do something nice for someone else. Another traffic example, but after getting into a disagreement with my husband last week, I let someone pull out of a parking lot in front of me. I rarely do this, but it felt great! I honestly felt my aggravation decrease in doing something nice for someone else!
Just breathe! There are many different ways to breathe, but in yoga the other day, we did a sinus opening breath, which I felt expanded the depth of my breath. With flu season coming up, this might be helpful for all of you! It’s easy! You take your first two fingers on each hand and place them on each side of your nose by your cheekbone. Then pull out and inhale for a count of two and exhale for a count of two! I now do this daily. It may look a little strange, but feels great!
I challenge you to pick one from the list and give it a try! If you aren’t feeling whichever you choose, don’t give up. Move onto another one. It might take various tries and activities to incorporate mindfulness in your daily life, but you may notice you have more awareness into your life and feeling states, therefore decreasing anxieties and depression.